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A group of researchers, including those from the John’s Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that the molecule paroxetine (the active ingredient in the antidepressant Paxil and one of the class of SSRI antidepressants) is associated with developmental neurotoxicity. In their paper*, entitled “Antidepressant Paroxetine Exerts Developmental Neurotoxicity in an iPSC-Derived 3D Human Brain Model” published in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, the authors found repeated indication that:

relevant therapeutic concentrations of Paroxetine induce brain cell development abnormalities which could lead to adverse effects

This conclusion was drawn from experimental work using stem cell models of the human brain.  This work was done in an effort represent human pathophysiology in a way that may not be captured by the animal models for neurodevelopment and for autism and other neurodevelopment impacts.

This study, which avoids the use of animal models, provides additional evidence that Paxil and other SSRI and SNRI antidepressant medications may disrupt brain development in the womb and lead to lifelong injury.

These are not the first studies to suggest that SSRI exposure during brain development can negatively impact brain function in ways that resemble ASD. In fact, there are several studies now that collectively indicate the risk to the human brain of taking these medications during pregnancy.

The list of relevant drugs is provided below.  If you were prescribed one or more of these drugs while pregnant and have a child suffering from autism or a related injury, please CONTACT US by filling out the form below.


  • Celexa®
  • Lexapro®
  • Prozac®
  • Luvox®
  • Paxil®
  • Zoloft®
  • Pristine®
  • Cymbalta®
  • Effexor®/Effexor XR®
  • Savella®
  • Fetzima® 

Nidel & Nace, PLLC has started filing cases on behalf of parents and children that may have been impacted by these drugs.  We currently have multiple cases that were filed on behalf of mothers and their children who took the antidepressant escitalopram (Lexapro) during pregnancy and have been diagnosed with ASD.  As our litigation continues, we are interested in hearing from parents of children that have been diagnosed with autism spectrum diseases. 

If you are a parent with a child that has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition and believe that it may be attributable to the use of an SSRI antidepressant during pregnancy, we ask that you please complete the adjacent form.

*1. Zhong X, Harris G, Smirnova L, Zufferey V, Sá R de C da S e, Russo FB, et al. Antidepressant Paroxetine Exerts Developmental Neurotoxicity in an iPSC-Derived 3D Human Brain Model. Front Cell Neurosci. 2020;14:25.